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5.23.2017

Tuesday MTG Miscellany

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Here in Canada, we celebrated Victoria Day (named for Queen Victoria's birthday), also known as the May Long Weekend.  In some circles referred to as the May 2-4 weekend as it the holiday Monday was first celebrated on the 24th of May, and beer is conveniently packaged in a box of 24 bottles.  This of course means that staff at MTG Realm were nowhere near a computer but out the bakcyards / parks with BBQs and beverages.  To this end, we need today to catch up with some Magic: the Gathering news, so strap in and let's go.


There were a number of large tournaments over the weekend (including 'Game Day') for standard format players, which affords us a look at how the game is evolving after the release of the latest set, Amonkhet.

Closest to us was Gran Prix Montreal, where fellow Canadians and those further afield came together to decide the best player and best decklist.  out of 850 players on day one, 276 moved on to day two.  As expected, the most popular decks going forward into day two were (in order of popluarity) Temur Marvel, Mardu Vehicles, Mono-black Zobies, along with a showing of Black-Green aggro and Blue-Red control lists.

Grand Prix Saniago held concurrently with the one in Montreal over the weekend, had rather similar showings in popular decklists.  For the full details on each of the tournament results, pop on over the Wizards of the Coast Events Coverage Page linked here.

For Amonkhet Game Day, MTG Realm member 'CopySix' took a Red-White Humans decklist, featuring :
• Bloodlust Inciter
• Thraben Inspector
• Glory-Bound Initiate
• Honored Crop-Captain
• Thalia's Lieutenant
• Thalia, Heretic Cathar
• Hanweir Garrison

Unfortunately this list did not get to Top 8 at the Game Day event at our local gaming store OMG! Games, here in Barrie, Ontario.  What caught our attention was the single decklist of Red-Green Energy at Grand Prix Santiago, played by Ignacio Saez, who took 6th Place.  This list has inspired us to dust off our old, and rather fun to play Red Green Energy deck and update it, for a spin at FNM.  

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Finally, We have an update to report for upcoming FNM promos, posted yesterday by WotC content manager for DailyMTG.com, Blake Rasmussen.  FNM promos (also Friday Night Magic promotional cards) are foil promotional cards provided by Wizards of the Coast as additional prizes at Friday Night Magic events.

2017

January - Noose Constrictor, illustrated by Kev Walker

February - Fortune's Favor, illustrated by Grzegorz Rutkowski

March - Incendiary Flow, illustrated by Slawomir Maniak

April - Servo Exhibition, illustrated by Vincent Proce

May - Unlicensed Disintegration, illustrated by Florian de Gesincourt

June - Aether Hub, illustrated by  Jonas De Ro

July - Reverse Engineer, illustrated by Jason Kang

August - Renegade Rallier, illustrated by David Palumbo

September - Fatal Push, illustrated by Alex Konstad 

The Fatal Push FNM promo has us very pleased and excited.

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5.17.2017

Magic Story Wednesday

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Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Before we get into today's post on MTG Realm, we have a few notes of interest for you -

Amonkhet Game Day

Amonkhet Game Day is this weekend ! Battle at your local gaming store (MTG Realm will be at OMG Games, here in Barrie, Ontario), and you could score a great Ultra PRO playmat, top eight promo of Glorybringer, and the participation promo of Trueheart Duelist.  Pop on over to this link on the WotC mothersite for more info -


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Hélène Bergeot

We are rather sad to hear that Hélène Bergeot, Wizards of the Coast vetran of some 21 years is leaving Wotc.  She leaves her post as Director of Global Organized Play Wizards of the Coast.  The very best wishes to her in whatever ever she does next.  Perhaps she is escaping that inept President the Americans had elected in favour of Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron, whom we believe might just lead France (hopefully after Parliamentary elections) be ushering in a new golden age for France.


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Fans of Magic: the Gathering have found this little nugget in the US Trademark Electronic Search System -

The Fall set, 'Ixalan' releases on or about September 29, 2017.  This set name, along with 'Iconic Masters' was the last information received.  It now appears that the second set in Ixalan block is to be Rivals Of Ixalan.



Magic: The Gathering's 25th Anniversary is upcoming and is expected to have celebrations take place concurrently with HASCON, the first stand-alone Hasbro convention this September.  We suspect that there may be some promotional products and logos with this this MTG '25' on the Planeswalker symbol.


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MAGIC STORY

Today's story "JUDGMENT", by Doug Beyer and Alison Luhrs was a great read.  We are happy to say better than the story last week, which unfortunately did not get passed to an Editor prior to publish. 

This is the last story in the Amonkhet set and will pick up again on June 7th, 2017 before release of the Hour of Devastation on July 14th, 2017.  MTG Realm has heard that next Wednesday, there will be a Question and Answer podcast, with the week after featuring a Commander Anothology story - which we are completely hyped for.

Anywhoos, on to today's story - SPOILERS AHEAD !


Story focus is on Samut, who having escaped the Viziers, fails to convince her Djeru that all is not as it seems, and in fact, quite a lie.  Djeru is a dick and does not listen.  Samut pleads to the god Hazoret to intervene and save Djeru from the inevitability of the last Trial.  Hazoret, being hacked, along with the other four remaining gods has Samut imprisoned ('sarcophagus' time-out?).  

Those idiot Planeswalkers calling themselves the Gatewatch manage to free her, and promptly get caught.  They all come to in the arena where the final trial (Trial of Zeal) takes place and find themselves fitted with a cartouche which controls them and more importantly restricts their particular magic.  

Gideon 'Meat Slab', has a moment in the ensuing battle which has us contemplating a Hero's Downfall reprint.  The sky grows darker at the close of the story with the impending return of the God-Pharoah and 'The Hours' begin, which feels like more of a countdown to total devastation of the Plane - Thanks Obama !

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5.15.2017

Pro Tour Amonkhet

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Happy Monday MTG peeps,

Pro Tough Amonkhet took place in Nashville over the weekend, and what the processional players took to battle gave us a bit of a surprise.  

We were expecting a field mostly dominated by Mardu Vehicles and Temur Aetherworks.  We were not expecting a strong showing of Zombie decklists this last weekend.  Although there were a handful of White / Black Zombies, most were mono-black.


Some rough numbers here which speaks onto the current standard meta-game. Here are the Decklists with 6 or more wins -
43 Aetherworks 
33 Zombie 
29 Mardu Vehicles
9 GB or Temur Energy
4 U/R Control
1 Abzan Tokens

Here are out Top 8 players - congratulations to all.  Also very happy to see a list from Ken Yukuhiro, who did very well with a B/G Energy list against both Zombies and Aetherworks.

1st Mono-Black Zombies Gerry Thompson
2nd Temur Aetherworks Yuuya Watanabe
3rd B/G Energy Ken Yukuhiro
4th Temur Aetherworks Martin Muller
5th B/W Zombies Chris Fennell
6th Temur Aetherworks Marc Tobiasch
7th Mono-Black Zombies Christian Calcano
8th Temur Aetherworks Eric Froehlich


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5.10.2017

Amonkhet - Story 7

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

As it is Wednesday, please do drop on over to the Wizards of the Coast site for the latest Magic Story installation.  Today's continuing Amonkhet story, 'Episode 7 : Trespass', is penned by Michael Yichao, and centers on the Samut, Djeru and Nakht.


The TL//DR 
The three close friends, Nakht (an aven), Samut, and Djeru, of the Tah Crop are nearly inseparable.  Nakht might be a water  bender, Samut asks too may uncomfortable questions and Djeru has the makings of a great accountant.  Samut shows the crew some old and forgotten glyphs.  Kjeru discovers a hole in the protective Hekma barrie, the trio think it a great idea to wander beyond the safe environs of Naktamun into the wild wasteland.  A ruin in the wasteland contains possible clues to a time before the God-Pharoah (May he return quickly and may we be found worthy).  Things go sideways quickly when they are beset upon by the undead dissenters and one of kids are horrifically nerf'd by a Grim Strider.  Years later, Samut, constatantly searching for answers to questions no-one is willing to ask, finds evidence of a dark secret.

Again, a great story from Yichao, but we should also point out that this story may not have been directed to an editor before it was posted.  Mind you, it is not as atrocious as perhaps the 'work' of E. L. James, but having said this, still know that redditor 'Wotc_Grammar_Police' is working overtime on today's story.  Let's have a taste -




SUDDENLY SAMUT

• "Suddenly, Samut stood and turned to the two boys."

• "Suddenly, Samut shoved them behind the remnants of a wall"

• "Samut suddenly stopped, jarring in her sudden stillness"

• "Suddenly, a sudden dread fell over his entire body"

Suddenly, a great need for a thesaurus.


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Also, who would have guessed that the Magic: the Gathering community also are Star Wars fans ?

"She was faster and stronger and had the high ground."

"Hot sand, swirling in wild storms, pushed high just outside the barrier"



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"Hazoret gazed over the smaller figures: humans, aven, ainok, minotaurs, and naga, all standing in various stances."

Sorry WotC, kinda racist here.  The 'ainok' on Amonkhet insist on the name 'Khenra', or perhaps Jackal in more informal situations.
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TIL

Today I Learned - Amonkhet is the 1994 movie Stargate.

A team of soldiers (Planeswalkers) go to a desert world (Amonkhet) seeking a shared history (to kill Nicol Bolas). They find people ruled over an Egyptian-styled god named Ra (Nicol Bolas) who enforces his will while he is away with soldiers dressed as gods (The Gods of Amonkhet).

Jace plays Daniel Jackson
The Planar Bridge is the stargate
Blah, blah, additional witty references.
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Some questions - 

It seems from the stories so far, the entire culture of Amonkhet lives to prepare for the Trials.

Who takes time off training to have kids ?  Is this frowned upon ?

Also, when an Ibis and Human love each other very much, do they have a little feathered Aven chick, or a hairless monkey ?
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5.09.2017

Amonkhet Monumental Tokens

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Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

Today we want to get to another rogue decklist suggestion as we don’t really want to play Mardu Vehicles or other Top 8 Magic: the Gathering list.  If you’ve been reading MTG Realm for any length of time, you may know we love us some token decks, so let’s look over a looked-over card from Amonkhet - Oketra's Monument.

Oketra's Monument is an artifact that costs 3 mana, with two rather nice abilities -
• White creature spells you cast cost 1 (colourless) less to cast.

and

• Whenever you cast a creature spell, create a 1/1 white Warrior creature token with vigilance.

The downside here is that Wizards of the Coast has put this uncommon-rarity artifact as ‘Legendary’.  For those who have just started playing, this will mean that a player cannot have more than one of these on the battlefield at any time.  This forces the player to give consideration as to how many copies is ‘safe’ to play in the deck.  Obviously you would be doing yourself a disservice if you included the maximum of 4 copies in your list, as it would be a ‘dead’ card in your hand.  This may be fine for other (typically creature or Planeswalker) cards as you would expect to have this a painted as a big target for removal.  As Oketra's Monument is a non-creature artifact, blowing it up is just a little more difficult.  As we want this to be a key component of the deck, we really do not want to drop below 3 copies in our mix of 60 cards.

To fill out our list we would like to play to the potential synergies available with Oketra's Monument - that is dropping white creature spells a full turn earlier and perhaps something to buff up all those 1/1 white Warrior creature tokens we want to produce.  Remember - there is no decklist offered here, just some suggestions for you to brew with.  Here is some choices moving forward -




• Sacred Cat - this 1/1 for one can take a dirt nap and come back with embalm.

• Servo Exhibition - which creates 2 creature tokens, and one more with the monument.

• Annointer Priest - gains you a life with each new token you create.




• Sram’s Expertise - comes down turn 3 and pukes 4 creature tokens with the monument

• Anointed Procession - What’s better than making a bunch of tokens ?  Making more tokens with this white-coloured Parallel Lives.

• Regal Caracal - Nice cat lord which for 5 mana delivers 7 power across three creatures.




• Angel of Invention - Use the Fabricate tech to create two additional tokens or just buff the angel.  The big benefit here is that though we are unable to use Always Watching as it buffs non-tokens, the angel will bull your entire team, no questions asked.



Other considerations -
 


• Westvale Abbey - as you will be making a lot of tokens, why not sacrifice them to transform this Land into a huge threat.  A 9/7 Flying, lifelink, indestructible, haste demon sounds nice.

• Dusk // Dawn may be questionable in this list - it may clear the board of larger creatures (power 3 or greater), but the Dawn side might not pull that many power 2 or less critters from our graveyard.

• Captain’s Claws - a 2-drop equipment which does not buff much, but which does generate a token every time the equipped creatures attacks.

• Even Wind Guide - splash blue in the list to give wings to all your creature tokens.

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5.04.2017

MTG Tumblr Thursday

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Happy Thursday MTG peeps,

Today's post to the MTG Realm blog is an assortment of a whole lot of different things - but certainly still on topic - Magic: the Gathering.  Hold on to your teeth as we take off.

First up -  Magic: the Gathering - Minecraft Skins



Hey there - do you like Minecraft AND MTG ??  If so, then pop on over to today’s announcement on the Minecraft mothersite linked here.  Minecraft Skin Artisit Sarah Kisor has crafted-up some of the most popular Magic: the Gathering Planeswalkers and Legendary Creatures and has produced some pixelacious skins.  The Magic the Gathering skin pack is available for Pocket and Windows 10 Edition.

Next - Wizards of the Coast has finally updated that Planes of Existence page to include our new Plane - Amonkhet.  


Summaries provided for:
Amonkhet Plane Overview
Legendary Creatures
• Cities
• Creatures, and
• Planeswalker Visitors


Next - MTG Pro Luis Scott Vargas has completed the full Constructed Set Review for Amonkhet over on Channel Fireball.  Pop on over and get to brewing !  Please do read LSV's review in full, but for the TL/DR crowd, here are the Top 10 Constructed Cards from Amokhet are -
 

10. Nissa, Steward of Elements
9. Magma Spray
8. Censor
7. Commit // Memory
6. Gideon of the Trials
5. Cut // Ribbons
4. Liliana, Death’s Majesty
3. Never // Return
2. Cast Out

. . . . - and -
1. Glorybringer


Finally, we want to wish our good Friend, and fellow Magic: the Gathering Fan Matty a belated Birthday (celebrated just last week) .  He had a most wonderful MTG themed cake -




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5.02.2017

Amonkhet Post Copy Cat

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Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

Before we get into today's post to the MTG Realm Blog, we do want to give a shout-out to Wizards of the Coast.  Specifically, our appreciation for including a copy of every token, and the Gideon Emblem in the Amonkhet Bundle.  This, including a copy of each of the full-art Amonkhet lands provide additional value to the Bundle, and we hope will, in turn, generate increased sales for WotC.

Righto - back on track now.

We should like to yatter a bit about the new standard constructed format with the addendum or as some players have called it 'emergency' banning of Felidar Guardian.

With the one side of the 'Copy Cat' Saheeli Rai / Felidar Guardian card banned on Wednesday, it may have been simply not enough time for Magic: the Gathering players attending the first big tournament, StarCityGames Atlanta, who were planning on bringing the Saheeli combo to change up and get any serious playtesting.


As a result, it was not much of a stretch of one's imagination that the number two decklist Mardu Vehicles dominated the game tables during the second day of SCG Atlanta.  This was the list to beat, and it certainly is safe for the first few weeks to have an aggressive list.  Of the 116 players making it to Day 2, some 28 of those players were relying on Mardu Vehicles to get them to the finish line.   Here are two of the decklists from the Top 8 crowd - the winner Andrew Jessup's Mardu Vehicle list, and Brennan DeCandio's B/G Delirium list.





We suggest you may want to read the post 'Day 2 Metagame Breakdown' posted by Nick Miller, to get a snapshot of the standard constructed environment early in the season.

One our our first decklists we want to try is something similar to Zach Stern's White / Red W/R Humans, but perhaps a bit more spicier given the local metagame at our LGS, OMG! Games, here in Barrie, Ontario.  

We will, of course take all cues provided by our hero Craig Wescoe, whom we are certain share a penchant with us for small dudes going sideways into the red zone.


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